CAS for Database

Elena Su

Brookline, MA

Brookline High School


all I have ever wanted is to

be clean as the lemon-suffused snap of morning,

but cruising in his car, broken windows, the dirty oily smudges of streetlamps,

the dashboard’s blinking warning, the claustrophobic insides of my pupils:

everything throbs, painfully, with this unsettling

feeling I can’t think about; it’s the thrill of mass and inertia—of

going so fast my skin peels into ribbons, dissolving into heat: the pure

here & now, higher than a kite and twice as light, my heart expanding

into the delicate arched cavity of my ribs; every single time, my

junk heap of unwired neurons (axons & nuclei by the bloody handful)

keeps firing, struggling to reel in a thought—failing—and

lilac with opportunity, the world chokes on its own happiness;

my mind grasps for capital-G God, the Virgin at her altar, the memory of my knees growing

numb in the pew, my tongue heavy with their sins; and eventually the

open jaw of the sky snaps shut, and I am shivering with cold, the ice in my veins awful and

precise; and the last gentle corner of my soul

quietly stirs alive, my humanity uncoiling and

rippling awake in the fragmented aftermath; to be brutally honest, the rare nights I fall asleep sober,

sometimes I dream of swallowing the moon whole and sometimes I dream of healing; on

that day, the devil will offer a needle, and I will tear him apart to reveal the gap-toothed gears

underneath; in my mind the sky blisters as he bleeds––

vultures descend in droves, black and slick as oil, and I

wade in thigh-deep, watch the waves swell red, baptize myself with a new name, and all the doctor’s

x-rays will show a heart, beating and stitched whole and finally mine—but until then—it’s an inevitable

yes, yes, how much, and in that crush of an instant I am always




The author mixes striking imagery and raw emotion effortlessly, and combines religious references and scientific terminology in a way that defies the laws of Heaven and physics.

Elena Su is a senior and a member of the Class of 2021 at Brookline High School in Brookline, MA. She enjoys writing, mathematics, and reporting. She eats too much sugar but takes her coffee black.